Royal Caribbean Scuttles Crown & Anchor Society

Royal Caribbean is gutting the Crown & Anchor society that lavishes loyal cruisers with perks like discounts, priority boarding, and a concierge lounge stocked with complimentary cocktails. The free booze will now be available only to cruisers who have sailed more than 25 times with Royal Caribbean. Many loyal passengers who don’t spend their lives on Royal Caribbean ships are understandably pissed.

Clearly the limiting of the Concierge Lounge is the most controversial of the changes. In the e-mail sent to members, Royal Caribbean cited capacity issues stating that the lounges were becoming unsustainably crowded as the reason for the change. But, many members who have flooded Internet cruise forums state this isn’t the case and feel it’s all about cutting perks to generate onboard revenue – particularly alcohol sales.

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Sonny Vincer from Racine, Wis., is outraged by the changes to the Crown & Anchor program. Vincer, who just completed his 50th cruise on Royal Caribbean, is a Diamond Plus member and says he feels “abandoned” by the changes and is thinking of canceling an already-booked voyage. “While on my last cruise, I booked another cruise on the Independence of the Seas for next February. I’ll probably be canceling that booking if things don’t turn around for members. “

Diamond member Chris Perreault is equally miffed at Royal Caribbean’s changes. Perreault says as he amassed points in the Crown & Anchor program, he had even less reason to cruise with another company. “We were loyal because of the loyalty program,” he said. Perreault turned Diamond status in January and was finally able to use many of the program’s perks. Now with the huge downgrade in benefits he’s thinking of abandoning ship. “The Nation of Why Not has me thinking of why not check out another cruise line,” said Perreault.

Royal Caribbean has been moving in this direction for some time, levying charges for steaks and late-night room service. It’s clear that Royal Caribbean’s goal is to become the Ryan Air of the seven seas.

Changes to Crown & Anchor Benefits
Anchors away: Royal Caribbean gives passenger perks the heave-ho [Tripso]
PREVIOUSLY: Royal Caribbean To Levy Late-Night Room Service Charge
Royal Caribbean Levies $14.95 Steak Surcharge